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!Mark! - info re grade exams etc

 
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pickula



Joined: 13 Feb 2006
Posts: 78
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:07 pm    Post subject: !Mark! - info re grade exams etc Reply with quote

Mark - I've made a new post to carry on discussing grade exams, because I didn't want to hi-jack thomasross20's thread any more than we have already done.

Here's what I've come up with -
First off, I spoke to my Head of Department today and asked him what his knowledge of the ICMA was - he'd never heard of them, and neither had any of my other music teaching colleagues. My HOD is on the music advisory committee of the SQA (Scottish Qualifications Agency, the agency which validates exams and qualifications for the Scottish educational system) and he's a very knowledgeable guy on the whole subject of music exams.

I later checked out the QCA site - the QCA is the English equivalent of the SQA - and put ICMA into their search engine - it came back as "no match for your search".

This doesn't necessarily mean that ICMA exams are flawed in any way - I had another look at their site and found a few things there I liked in fact. One major thing that I find good in their approach is the "options" system which to some extent allows candidates to design an exam that suits them instead of blindly following a pre-determined syllabus; I see a flaw in that however, which is that some of the things they list as options are, in my opinion, essentials and should be compulsory, not optional. The other thing I didn't like is the fact that the music required for their exams is much too easy - I think that this is probably the reason they are not validated by the QCA. The only grade I could find on their site that was fully explained was the grade 4, and it's not nearly as advanced as the grade 4 exam of any of the exam boards with which I'm familiar

Now - some info on the main exam boards, all of which are fully accredited and recognised by both the SQA and the QCA -

For classical guitar, the main board is the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music). You can download their guitar syllabus from here - http://www.abrsm.org/?page=exams/gradedMusicExams/latestSyllabuses.html

Other good boards are Trinity and Guildhall - the Trinity syllabus can be downloaded here - http://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/site/?id=594 and the Guildhall can be downloaded here - http://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/site/?id=187

These two boards are about to amalgamate into one organisation called Trinity Guildhall, and a new syllabus is to be made available from 2007.

If you check out any of these, and look at the grade 8 syllabus, you'll find that they are all on a much higher level of difficulty than such pieces as the Etruscan Preludes that you mentioned.

For electric guitar, the best board of them all is Rock School, which is validated by Trinity and fully recognised by the Scottish and English authorities. They are about to launch their new syllabus any day now - they commission music for their exams, and don't use music from any well known bands. I think they probably tried to use music by established artists but had problems with copyright and permissions so they went down the route of having music written for them. They publish a separate book for each grade, and each book comes with a CD with a full performance of each piece plus a play-along track to practise with, so I suggest you buy a copy of their grade 8 book, which will be available within the next few days. This will probably cost somewhere around 15 pounds or so, at a guess. You'll be able to buy it from their website which you can find on http://www.rockschool.co.uk/rsl/index.aspx

In addition to these organisations, the London College of Music has a grade syllabus for both classical and electric guitars, which is fully recognised - I have no personal knowledge of this particular board, but I think that they too are probably pretty good, I know a couple of teachers who have their teaching qualifications and they are certainly good musicians.

I strongly suggest that if you want to get a universally acknowledged qualification of some kind under your belt, you use the above exam boards. My personal recommendation would be the ABRSM for classical guitar and Rock School for electric.

I had a listen to your playing on myspace, and bearing in mind that the Vivaldi is 8 months old and you have since improved it, I'd say you are a very good player for a 14 year old - I enjoyed your other track too. You're not, to be honest, what I would regard as a "true" grade 8 player yet - I emphasise "yet" because you definitely have potential and if you want to follow the exam route, I'm pretty sure you could work up to the required standard for electric in a year or two. I can't comment on your classical playing since I haven't heard any of it.

Finally for now - you mentioned that you may be sitting a teaching exam - for all the exam boards I've talked about, you have to be 18 to sit these exams - dunno about the ICMA though, but I can tell you that 18 is also the minimum age for a teacher that the SQA and QCA recognise

I hope this info is of interest to you, please just ask if you want any more, but this post is long enough already!

Good luck and keep playing.
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, I just like playing music.
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"Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness, or perhaps of subconciousness - I wouldn't know. But I am sure that it is the antithesis of self-consciousness." - Aaron Copland
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pickula



Joined: 13 Feb 2006
Posts: 78
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Man I just like playing music."

Me too, I'm just trying to help Mark out that's all - is there anything wrong with that?
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ed norton



Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Posts: 762

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man I'm relating to Igiro and Jake, and that's a trip. Jake helped me with a personal matter today; he's a good man, and a scholar. Go get em Igiro. Picula you are way out of my league homeboy(I'm Scot-Irish by blood).What's funny to us commoners is : I have this image of these proper english gentlemen at a table wearing those long wigs, smoking pipes, drinking tea, and they're dressed in smoking jackets. They are there to give certification for music school to our young talented friend Mark. In walks Mark with an Ibanez Steve Vai model and a Marshall and he lays down some mean Randy Rhoads licks. The wigs fly off their heads cause Mark is shreddin so hard. "Oh fine job ol' chap, do come back and play some Iron Maiden, oh splendid, I think I'll have more tea". That's friggin' great. Go get em Mark, we all look forward to following your career.
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pickula wrote:
"Man I just like playing music."

Me too, I'm just trying to help Mark out that's all - is there anything wrong with that?


no dude nothing wrong with the exams, I'm just making a little joke.

All this grading stuff is "not for me", which doesn't make it bad, I just want to get far away!
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"Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness, or perhaps of subconciousness - I wouldn't know. But I am sure that it is the antithesis of self-consciousness." - Aaron Copland
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pickula



Joined: 13 Feb 2006
Posts: 78
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"All this grading stuff is "not for me", which doesn't make it bad, I just want to get far away!"

I have to work with this stuff on a daily basis and believe me, I want to get even further away from it than you do, but hey - you have to earn a living. I don't think these exams are all that important to anyone unless they want to work in the education system, I'm only telling Mark what's there, because the subject came up and I happen to know about it.

"Picula you are way out of my league homeboy(I'm Scot-Irish by blood)"
I'm not out of anybody's league ed, I'm nothing special, I just happen because of my job to have a working knowledge of a subject which was raised by Mark so I just thought I'd help him out with some info.

"Jake helped me with a personal matter today; he's a good man, and a scholar. "

I've no reason to doubt that ed, I've enjoyed a lot of his posts on this forum, he talks a lot of sense; I could say exactly the same about you, and in fact about most people on this forum. All I'm asking is that some of the people who have commented just note that I'm not talking BS, I'm not being argumentative, I'm just trying to give some info and encouragement to a young guy on his way up.
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alfonso



Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 1258
Location: Sacramento

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pickula,
I appreciate your post as they are most informative, I think if the kid could back himself up he would have responded by now, but I might be wrong we will find out. It just goes to show you if you're gonna say something either to someone's face or on the internet you should be able to back it up factually. I didn't find your post argumentative, something was posted that you happen to know something about so you're posting your response, no big deal. peace to all
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ed norton



Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Posts: 762

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand Picula, I didn't have any problems with any of it. The system was a little funny to me. Cheers good buddy, I understood you challenging the other guy thomas, because you worked really hard at doing what he makes claims to. I listened to his clips, they where creative ,but the tecnique and musicality was mediocre at best. Allot better than me at that age though.
Alfonso ,yes you do have to back what you say. I hope I have made it clear that although I am very knowledgeable, I am quite the average player. Maybe a little more desire than most, but probably equal to the desire of most on this board. Loved your pictures, I'll share some when my computer has the capability.
I revisted the Jimmy Bruno tape today(netflix dvd). I gave it away 5 years ago because I understood all the concepts and figured I'd just practice. Man I hear Jimmy now and that's the whole point of the tape. I give myself props cause I worked hard, and not too many guys who work the kinda physical day jobs I worked ,would take that kinda time. Still I'm a long ways from my hero Mr. Jimmy Bruno. and thanks to my ol lady for giving me time to practice, "love is a many Splendid thing".
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!Mark!



Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pickula, what grade (by your standards) would classical gas (mason williams version) be? I started learning it a few months ago and decided to finish it today.

My guitar teacher did mention gavotte from the lute suite in E as a possible grade 8 piece which i see is on the assoisiated board's grade 8 syllabus, hmmm, confusing.

TBH im not really too fussed about going through some grades on a different system as my guitar teacher knows a hell of a lot about everything and he usually just gives me my pieces and scales/arps/chords i need to learn and from there we completely ignore the syllabus and discuss anything i bring up, recently we've been working on composition, mainly fugal which is something im very interested in.


alfonso wrote:
I think if the kid could back himself up he would have responded by now, but I might be wrong we will find out.

I'm confused, is "the kid" me?

Thanks, Mark
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ed norton



Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Posts: 762

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They mean Thomas. Relax Mark, we all believe you are gifted. Thomas came off a little showy but noone has a problem with him either. I love Classical Gas. I didn't have good enough tecnique for that when I was younger. I'm gonna learn it as a tribute to all the young talents out there. I'll have to get out the Chet Atkins version and listen. I'm busy and trying not to post, but I wanted to assure you all was good. Peace, learn that Bach and stay focused. Electric guitar, IMO, will not help you reach your goals. Classical is the ultimate discipline, best wishes homeboy, make us proud.
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!Mark!



Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

at least classical is written down, this jazz crew have to go and make it all up as they go along, the inconsiderate bastards!
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pickula



Joined: 13 Feb 2006
Posts: 78
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark - I reckon Classical Gas is probably something a decent grade 6 player would be able to handle ok.

It seems from what you say that you have found yourself a good teacher that you are happy with, so if he reckons you are up to tackling the Bach piece you mentioned, then go for it, it's a good piece of music and not easy to play, you'll get a lot out of it.

Good teachers are worth hanging on to, so stick with him and follow his suggestions and you should do fine.

And yes, it is confusing when you study the exam stuff closely - you'll find some odd discrepancies in them as regards the difficulty rating of particular pieces; you can find things in each grade that seem totally different in standard from other pieces in the same exam - I think the explanation is probably the fact that different syllabi are written by different people and sometimes they don't agree with each other. At the end of the day, any syllabus in any subject (not just music) is only as good as the guy who wrote it.

Thanks to all who've contributed to this discussion.
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